Curry lovers live longer. Now, rather than use it to justify your Friday-night bhaji feast, be inspired to whip up these nourishing dishes instead.

Ah, curry. So deliciously, comfortingly, delivered-to-your-actual-door good, you can't quite recall why you don't eat it all the time. Oh, hang on; yes, you can – the bucketful of molten ghee it comes in. But, as multiple studies reveal, the vast array of curried cuisine boasts health benefits – with spice lovers living 14% longer. We called in Anjum Anand, chef and author of Anjum's Quick and Easy India, to satisy your spice craving with these five healthy upgrades.

Chilli sweet potatoes with kale

296 cals | 0.g sat fat | 16.4g sugar | serves 4

The benefits: This brilliant combination of sweet, spicy and tangy flavours is a treat for the taste buds and will keep your liver happy too. Chillies contain the compound capsaicin, shown by the European Association for the Study of the Liver to not only repair liver damage, but also prevent it. Another Kobra anyone?


2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp brown mustard seeds

2-3 dried red chillies

15 curry leaves

12g ginger, peeled, finely chopped

2 tsp tomato puree

2 sweet potatoes (around 500g), peeled and cut into 2in chunks

2 tsp tamarind paste

4 handfuls of curly kale, washed



1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and, once they are popping, the chillies and curry leaves. Follow 10 seconds later with the ginger and tomato purée then stir for a minute or so.

2. Mix in the sweet potato and cover with enough water to cover half the spuds. Season and bring to a boil, cover and cook over a moderate heat for 8-9 minutes or until they start to soften.

3. Stir in the tamarind and kale, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

4. Once any excess water has cooked off, adjust the seasoning and tamarind to taste then serve with lentils or your meat of choice.

Roasted cumin chicken

443 calories | 5g sat fat | 3g sugar | serves 4

The benefits: Sunday roast? Yes, please. Curry? Yes, please. What could be better than a dish that combines the two? It contains cumin, shown in studies according to Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice; Pharmaceutical Biology; Food Chemistry. Cumin aids digestion, decreasse body fat and helps control diabetes. Perfect if you're feeling sluggish.


4 chicken breasts, bone in

For the marinade

½ medium red onion, roughly quartered

15g ginger, peeled

5 garlic cloves

1 tbsp cumin seeds, half dry roasted and lightly crushed; half ground in a pestle and mortar

2 tsp garam masala

½ tsp turmeric powder

1/3-1/2 tsp red chilli powder

200g plain full-fat yoghurt

Salt and pepper


1. Combine the marinade ingredients (except for the whole roasted cumin seeds) and smear under the skin of the chicken. Leave to marinate for at least one hour.

2. Place the chicken, marinade and a small splash of water in a snug baking dish and roast in the middle of an oven at 375C for 25-30 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut into the thickest part of the breast.

3. Remove from the oven and rest for 10 minutes. Place the chicken on a plate then peel off the skin and discard. Spoon off any extra oil from the surface of the pan juices and create a sauce by stirring in whole roasted cumin seeds and coriander to the remaining liquid. Serve with the chicken, accompanied by sweet potato and spinach.

Green mung daal with shredded ginger

156 calories | 0.3g sat fat | 4.5g sugar | serves 4

The benefits: What a combination! Mung beans are rich in fibre and protein, while ginger can ease muscle pain by 25% according to the University of Georgia. Ginger also contains a substance shown to inhibit the growth of colorectal cancer cells according to a study by University of Minnesota and, according to Columbia University, it can promote thermogenesis, increasing internal temperatures and tricking the body into feeling full. This daal is a quick and easy dish to make – freeze any leftovers for nutritious fast-food when you need it.


150g green mung beans

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

25g ginger, half chopped and half julienned

1½ tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1-2 dried red chillies

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp coriander powder

½ tsp garam masala

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped



1. Place the beans in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and chopped ginger and reduce to a simmer. Leave for 50-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.

2. Heat the ghee or vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the cumin seeds and red chillies until they begin to darken. Add the remaining spices and ginger.

3. When the ginger is golden, stir this mixture into the lentils, along with the fresh coriander. Season to taste then serve with rice or flatbread.

Carom seed sautéed spinach

70 cals | 2g sat fat | 0g sugar | serves 3-4

The benefits: Like the best skinny tee, this versatile side dish works with anything. It uses carom seeds, which contain the antibacterial and anti-fungal compound thymol, believed in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce inflammation and maintain blood circulation. The seeds are available to order from Amazon. Can't wait? Use fresh thyme instead.


1 tbsp vegetable oil

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 tsp carom seeds

1 tsp cumin powder

500g baby leaf spinach or whole leaf spinach (tough stalks removed and washed)


1 knob of butter

Lemon juice


1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and gently cook the garlic and carom seeds.

2. When the garlic has started to colour, add the cumin then spinach and season.

3. Cook until wilted and any excess water has reduced away. Add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve alongside the roasted cumin chicken.

Coriander-marinated grilled paneer skewers

204 cals | 11.3g sat fat | 2g sugar | serves 4 (as a starter or side dish)

The benefits: Coriander contains the hormone melatonin, which encourages the body to burn calories, not store them, say researchers at the University of Granada.


200g paneer, cut into 2in cubes

1 red onion, cut into 2in squares

1 red pepper, cut into 2in pieces

1 tbsp butter (optional)

For the marinade

35g coriander leaves and stalks, washed

10g mint leaves, washed

1 garlic clove, peeled

6g fresh ginger, peeled weight

1½ tbsp double cream

2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

½ tsp garam masala

1 tsp coriander powder

½ tsp cumin powder


Lemon juice


1. Soak the paneer in boiling, well-salted water for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the marinade by blending all the ingredients in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and lemon juice.

3. Gently squeeze the paneer to remove any excess water and place into the marinade, along with the cubed vegetables. Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for a few hours. Return to room temperature before cooking.

3. Thread the paneer, onion and pepper onto skewers and place onto an oiled, foil-lined baking tray. Bake in the middle an oven at 200C, until there is some charring on the edges. Brush with butter, turn and bake this side in the same way. When each side is cooked, serve with a side salad or as an accompaniment to a main dish.

For more weekend recipes ideas, also try these healthy muffins snacks or try your hand at this vegan cheesecake

2023-07-10T12:05:01Z dg43tfdfdgfd